Neupogen® (Filgrastim): General Information for the Public

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What is Neupogen® (Filgrastim)?

Neupogen® (filgrastim) is a drug that has been used successfully for cancer patients to stimulate the growth of the white blood cells, making patients less vulnerable to infections, it is expected to help patients who have bone marrow damage from very high doses of radiation in much the same way.

A person who has received a very high dose of radiation may experience bone marrow destruction, possibly resulting in infection and uncontrolled bleeding.

Since March 2015, Neupogen® was also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat those people who have received high doses of radiation.

For a physician fact sheet on Neupogen®, click here.

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How does Neupogen® work?

Patients who receive very high doses of radiation will not be able to produce new white blood cells. This will lead to a drop in the number of white blood cells in circulation.

  • The patients’ own bone marrow will eventually create new blood cells, but this is a slow process.
  • Until the white blood cell counts rise sufficiently, these patients are at a high risk of death from infection.

Neupogen® can speed up the process of white blood cell creation, reducing the time that the patient is vulnerable to infection.

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Who can take Neupogen®?

People may be prescribed Neupogen® following a high dose of radiation from a radiation emergency.

Neupogen® is safe for most adults, but should not be taken by people who have known hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived proteins, filgrastim, or any component of filgrastim.

Children and pregnant women should take Neupogen® with caution.

It is not known if Neupogen® is excreted in human milk; so breastfeeding women should discuss this matter with a doctor.

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How is Neupogen® given?

Neupogen® is given by injection under the skin.

For doctors, the treatment plan is to give Neupogen® daily for up to 2 weeks, by subcutaneous injection.

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What are the side effects of Neupogen®?

The most common side effect of Neupogen® is mild to moderate bone pain.

Other possible side effects of Neupogen® include fever, diarrhea, skin rash and weakness.

Enlargement and rupture of the spleen can rarely occur in patients who are receiving Neupogen®. Patients who develop abdominal pain, particularly in the left side, while receiving the drug should be evaluated by a doctor.

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Where can I get Neupogen®?

During a radiation emergency, doctors will provide Neupogen® treatment as needed.

Neupogen® can only be administered by a doctor.

More detailed information on Neupogen® can be found at the Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) Website.

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